The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld is a deeply moving book. Christmas was tough for our family this year having lost my husband’s mother and our children’s grandmother this summer; these special family occasions can’t help but remind us of the ones that our missing.
For my older boys we talk openly about death, heaven in its many forms and grief but with my 3 year old this is somewhat more challenging. She feels deeply but is uncertain exactly what has happened and why she cannot see her GrannyMac this Christmas. On these occasions I often turn to books! The Rabbit Listened is one of the best children’s books written of late about grief, empathy and loss and it was perfect for this situation. Whilst the main character in the story had not just lost a grandparent, the emotions conveyed in the story were heartfelt and resonated deeply with my daughter Caitlin. In fact this book would be perfect for discussing many different situations that lead to feelings of loss.
The Rabbit Listened is about a little child called Taylor who doesn’t know who to turn to when she is feeling sad. The chicken wants to talk but Taylor doesn’t feel like talking. The Bear suggests Taylor should feel angry but Taylor doesn’t want to shout. The elephant suggests Taylor put things back together in exactly the same way as they were before the incident, but Taylor didn’t want to remember. More animals come along to make suggestions, mirroring the way adults often try to fix our children’s problems for them, instead of just being with them. One by one the animals all fail leaving Taylor alone, until… along comes rabbit who simply sits and listens. Taylor is finally able to go through the different stages of grief and process what has happened before arriving at a hopeful ending.
This story is sooooo clever. It reads effortlessly. The writing is simple and considered. The illustrations are adorable, full of heart and the white backgrounds help pace the book to allow room for thought and discussion. This book is definitely on its way to being a classic!